There is an ancient Chinese story that goes like this:
Once upon a time, there was a man canoeing up a river.
From around a bend, a large boat appeared and it was headed directly at the man in the Canoe.
The man in the canoe began to wave and shout warning to get the boat's captain to change its direction.
But the boat came coming, closer and closer.
The man got louder and angrier as the boat approached.
He yelled and name called and cursed at the boat's captain.
The boat continued, running into the man in the canoe.
The man was thrown overboard and the canoe capsized.
The man turned to look at the captain of the boat and was ready to really curse at him and make him pay!
but the boat was empty......
the man quickly realized that the boat had slipped its mooring and was drifting.
no one controlled it, it struck him out of randomness.
And truthfully, the man in the canoe could have gotten out of its way.
But he was so busy being mad at the captain that he did nothing to help himself.
How can you apply this story to you?
So often we think someone is being mean to us on purpose
And we get so angry.
99% of the time, that person doesn't even
know they have made you angry.
In a crowded hallway at school a kid bumps roughly into you and doesn't say anything.
You may think that the person doesn't like you, they did it on purpose, maybe even to bully you.
But, perhaps "the boat is empty"
Meaning that kid was so lost in his own thoughts / problems and it is a crowded hallway
and someone bumped him, making him bump you.
your parents are driving you somewhere and some wild driver is
swerving through traffic and cuts off your parents.
How many of you have parents that would curse him, call him an idiot?
But maybe, "the boat is empty"
Maybe what you don't know is he just got word that his wife is in the ER about to loose their baby
Wouldn't you drive like a mad man in that situation?
Ok, so maybe the kid is a jerk, maybe the man is an idiot.
But you don't know what is in ones heart
So always think "the boat is empty"
and you will find yourself letting go of anger and spite.
Respond with love and understanding.
That is what God wants for us.
To let go of our anger, to forgive, to love.
And like the man in the water
--who really could have gotten out of the way if he wasn't so angry---
what could you do to make the situation better?
May God bless you with a calm head, a warm heart and a passion for others.